Saturday, July 22, 2006

El Duque OutFOXes Astros

Orlando Hernandez was great today. After a tough first inning, when he gave up three runs, he bore down to pitch another six scoreless innings. Duaner Sanchez pitched the eighth, and Billy Wagner finished off the Mets 4-3 win over the Astros to get the save. X-man gets the game ball because his three-run homer was the difference maker, and Toasty Joe has to lay off Billy Wagner for the rest of the season because Wags has converted five consecutive saves.

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver displayed their ignorance once again during the broadcast. I really, really wish FOX and ESPN would have a local guy be part of the broadcasts, at least during the postseason. As the game started, Joe and Tim said that El Duque has been very up and down since joining the Mets, and that by far his best start was his start against the Junkees on June 30th. Hernandez allowed two runs on seven hits over seven innings in a 2-0 loss to the Yankees that night. Somehow McCarver and Buck were completely unaware of El Duque's complete game win against the Diamondbacks on June 8th, when he allowed just three hits and one run in the Mets 7-1 win over Arizona.

The Dynamic Duo were made to look even sillier later on in the broadcast. As El Duque pitched, they said that he was getting by mostly on deception at this point in his career, because he just doesn't have the velocity on his fastball anymore. Well I just about howled when they did an interview with Willie Randolph late in the game, and they him asked about Hernandez's performance. Allow me to paraphrase a bit, but Willie said that the most surprising thing about El Duqueis that his velocity has been up since coming over to the Mets, something that he usually didn't rely on during most of his career. Yeah, you read it right, the complete opposite of what FOX's "analysts" reported. And I would say that Randolph is pretty damn familiar with the pitching style of El Duque, having been on the coaching staff during Hernandez's Yankees tenure. Thank goodness tomorrow afternoon's game is on SNY. Mets go for the sweep with rookie Mike Pelfrey on the mound against Roy Oswalt.

By the way, with all this trade speculation swirling around, why has no one mentioned transplanted ex-Met Roberto Hernandez as a target? Here's a guy who thrived for the Mets last year and is now doing real well for the Pirates who are going nowhere. Hey Omar, bring this guy back!

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